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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Dedifferentiated chondrocytes reexpress the differentiated collagen phenotype when cultured in agarose gels.

The differentiated phenotype of rabbit articular chondrocytes consists primarily of type II collagen and cartilage-specific proteoglycan. During serial monolayer culture this phenotype is lost and replaced by a complex collagen phenotype consisting predominately of type I collagen and a low level of proteoglycan synthesis. Such dedifferentiated chondrocytes reexpress the differentiated phenotype during suspension culture in firm gels of 0.5% low Tm agarose. Approximately 80% of the cells survive this transition from the flattened morphology of anchorage-dependent culture to the spherical morphology of anchorage-independent culture and then deposit characteristic proteoglycan matrix domains. The rates of proteoglycan and collagen synthesis return to those of primary chondrocytes. Using SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of intact collagen chains and two-dimensional cyanogen bromide peptide mapping, we demonstrated a complete return to the differentiated collagen phenotype. These results emphasize the primary role of cell shape in the modulation of the chondrocyte phenotype and demonstrate a reversible system for the study of gene expression.[1]


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